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Protection for EU citizens' rights

Published: 3 Jul 2016 00:01
Part of:
International

First Minister asks for ‘immediate guarantees’ for EU nationals in Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today (Sunday) called for the rights of European Union nationals living in Scotland to be protected.

Ms Sturgeon has written to the Prime Minister, and the five Conservative leadership candidates, to ask for immediate guarantees that the residency status and the other existing rights of the 173,000 EU citizens in Scotland will remain unchanged.

The call comes ahead of a summit of Consul Generals and diplomats in Bute House on Tuesday, where the First Minister will reaffirm the Scottish Government's commitment to Europe and ensure representatives of EU countries know their citizens will continue to feel welcome in Scotland.

The First Minister said:

"Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay in Europe, yet citizens of EU countries who live, work and contribute to our country are understandably anxious and uncertain about what the UK referendum result means for them and their families.

"People from EU countries are an important part of Scotland's future. I am therefore seeking immediate guarantees from the Prime Minister, and all Conservative leadership candidates, that the residency status and the other existing rights of the 173,000 EU nationals living in Scotland will remain unchanged, now or in the future. This is a commitment that can and should be made and enforced now.

"It is imperative that the UK Government respects those who have exercised their treaty rights and chosen to make a life in Scotland.

"Scotland is still firmly in the EU and we are pursuing all options to maintain our EU status – something that I underlined in my meetings in Brussels in the last few days. Through the consular network I want to get the message out as far and as wide that we are an inclusive and outward-looking society that recognises the immense contribution EU citizens make to Scotland's economy, society and culture.

"The Scottish Government already has an intense programme of community engagement underway and I will meet representatives of EU nations to listen to any concerns they, or their citizens living here, might have. I also want to hear suggestions on how, during these uncertain times, the Scottish Government can provide further reassurance to all EU citizens living in Scotland in the coming weeks and months."